Preached by Apostle André Pelser
He left His mighty throne in glory
To bring to us redemption’s story
Then He died but rose again
Just for you and me
Oh, but I’m glad
So glad He did
(‘I don’t know why’, by Andrae Crouch)
Jesus exchanged His mighty throne in glory for a wooden cross on Calvary so that we can exchange the cross for a crown one day.
So, I’ll cling to that old rugged cross…
And exchange it someday for a crown
(Gospel Hymn by Alan Jackson)
Paul preached Jesus and Him crucified because He believed in the great exchange. The cross crucified him to the world and the world to him. The cross was necessary to kill the attractive temptations of the world in his life. And that cross would be the key to the great exchange one day; he would exchange it for a crown in heaven.
Jesus said, ‘if anyone wants to follow Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’ Self-denial helps you to accept the cross in your life. Without taking up your cross you cannot follow Jesus. The Christian life demands a cross. Your cross is designed to kill your love for this world and all its attractions. You are dead to this world, because of the cross. Without the cross you think you are free to enjoy this present evil world. The cross kills that thought. The world no longer draws you. You are drawn to Christ instead.
Paul wrote, ‘for me to live is Christ.’ He had no other reason to live. It was enough for him to live for Christ and in Christ. Christ was everything to him. He also wrote, ‘it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.’ This is how he accomplished everything in his life. This is how he overcame this world. That is how he survived all the persecution, tribulation and opposition in his life. He was dead to it. He did it all for Christ’s sake. He had no personal ambition any more. His only ambition was to have no ambition. He exchanged all his earthly ambition for Christ’s purpose and the Gospel.
Then he wrote, ‘be my followers as I am of Christ.’ In other words, ‘imitate me.’
Christianity has a price tag. It means you must lay down your life for Christ’s sake. It costs everything. Jesus explained, ‘if you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s, you will find it.’ While you try to preserve your own life, you will lose it.
Paul understood how the great exchange would take place when Christ Jesus returns. We would exchange this mortal, sinful body for an immortal, pure body. This corruptible body will put on incorruption. For flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God fully. We have to be changed, in an instant, in a moment of time. Then we will meet the Lord in the air and so we will be with the Lord forever.
What a wonderful prospect! Those who have this great exchange in mind cleanse them and purify their lives to be ready for His return. We are in this world, but not of this world. We have a different view of everything. We see everything in the light of God’s word. We are one with Him. We have His mind and His perspective on everything. That is how we overcome this world, by our faith in God.
Because we are willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. Because we believe in Jesus Christ, God is not ashamed to say He is our God and we are His people. We are of the household of faith, part of the family of God. And one day we will make the great exchange: we will exchange our cross for an eternal crown, because Jesus exchanged his throne for a cross.
The cross is the pivot of Christianity. Everything centers around it. That is where Jesus paid the price for our sin & healing, and that is where we lay down our sins & sickness to receive salvation and healing.
The Gospel Hymn writer, Alan Jackson, wrote:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Bob Dylan wrote in ‘Saving Grace’:
The wicked know no peace and you just can’t fake it
There’s only one road and it leads to Calvary
As I look around this world, all that I am finding
Is the saving Grace that’s over me